underrated standup netflix


12 underrated Netflix comedy specials you should watch now

Line up these overlooked comedy gems.


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Mar 26, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 4:19 pm CDT

Netflix has been pumping out standup specials from some big names, with big price tags attached. But there are plenty of specials that deserve some love and attention that you might have overlooked. Here are some of the underrated Netflix comedy specials that you should watch now.

12 funny Netflix comedy specials you haven’t seen yet

1) Maria Bamford: Old Baby

netflix comedy specials maria bamford

Old Baby is a special only Maria Bamford could produce. It’s segmented into standup sets in living rooms and bookstores, on sidewalks, and in front of her husband, artist Scott Marvel Cassidy. With no traditional stage, Bamford is able to fold her natural surroundings into the sets. She discusses making it in Hollywood and the struggle of true love and acceptance next to a fluffy tree, which she later hides behind. That scene segues into a living room, as Bamford enters like it’s a sitcom. It’s two Marias, separated ostensibly by one wall. Audra Schroeder

2) Reggie Watts: Spatial

netflix comedy specials reggie watts

Watts’ standup is typically part existential exploration, part beat-making, but in this special, we even get a surreal play that will make you never want to cohabit again. Watts switches streams often but always keep the humor absurd. “This is an experimental show,” he remarks. “You might not even see this on Netflix.” As of this writing, though, you can—and should—stream Spatial, because it’s one of the most fascinating Netflix comedy specials available. —A.S.

3) Katt Williams: Great America

netflix comedy specials katt williams

In Katt Williams’ Great America, “it’s fucked up” is his mantra, and it also describes America’s state of affairs. But this is nothing new to Williams. As a 20-year veteran of standup, his routines have become synonymous with a brutally honest Black perspective. It’s tragic yet hilarious. —Adam Weightman

4) Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy

netflix comedy specials larry charles

Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy is part travel show, part tragicomic variety show. Over just four episodes, Charles—who wrote for Seinfeld and directed episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and the movies Borat and Brüno—packs in quite a bit of content. He claims in the first episode that he’s “traveled through the comedy danger zone and lived to tell the tale,” and the series aims to figure out what makes people in certain parts of the world laugh, and how people get their sense of humor. A.S.


5) Lucas Bros: On Drugs

netflix comedy specials lucas bros

The Lucas delivery method is something like improv; they’re always yes-and’ing each other, adding affirmations after delivering a line. That makes the flow of the set more conversational than most Netflix comedy specials, and applies some dramatic tension to a joke about bringing the movie Scream to a Black Panthers party, or being stopped by a cop with a gun who, it turns out, just wanted a selfie. “So we took the picture with him,” comes the punchline. “Because he had a gun.” —A.S.

6) Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to Be Special

netflix comedy specials garfunkel oates

The musical duo (Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome) goes meta. Trying to Be Special is a special about funding a special, and in between, there are songs about pregnant women, handjobs, and egg-freezing. A.S.

7) Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell

netflix comedy specials bumping mics

The celebrity roast peaked in the early aughts, but the art form is still alive and evolving, and Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell is the latest entry in the genre of comedians roasting comedians (and themselves). “Roastmaster General” Jeff Ross earned his title by helming roasts of celebrities, comedians, and inmates. Dave Attell has always been able to rattle off insults and stick the landings, a talent that he put to good use on his Comedy Central show Insomniac and showcased in specials like Road Work. His road-tested comedic timing pairs nicely with Ross’ more laid-back, from-the-gut barbs. Together, they yes-and each other over the coals. A.S

8) Comedians of the World

netflix comedy specials comedians of the world

More than a collection of 30-minute sets, Comedians of the World is a snapshot of how women are viewed in their respective countries and the experiences they’ve had. The comedians discuss religion, sexism, harassment, anger, motherhood, homosexuality, and gender identity. CotW is quite a feat of organization, and perhaps the goal here is to funnel some of these comedians into longer Netflix comedy specials. But it also functions as an important discovery tool. —A.S.


9) Todd Glass: Act Happy

netflix comedy specials todd glass

Todd Glass keeps his energy up, jumping from topic to topic, often starting a joke and abandoning the punchline in favor of a new one on Act Happy. He covers house-flipping shows, flossing, pigeons, and admits he has a song prepared in case he doesn’t have enough material. It appears he does have enough material, but sometimes a lack of focus hinders the delivery. Two highlights: He does a spot-on Brian Regan impression in a bit about man caves and channels Rodney Dangerfield doing Mitch Hedberg jokes, which I could have watched for another 15 minutes. A.S.

10) Malena Pichot: Estupidez Compleja

netflix comedy specials malena pichot

In the lead-up to Estupidez Compleja, Argentine comedian Pichot is told to stop talking about feminism in her set; it’s causing her to lose male audience members. So of course she hits the gas. In one of the most topical Netflix comedy specials on this list, Pichot gets into feminism, abortion, motherhood, birth control, sexual assault, and the “complex stupidity” of those who are anti-abortion, anti-women, and anti-feminism. —A.S.

11) Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats

netflix comedy specials chelsea peretti

While you might be familiar with the comedian’s work from her roles on The Kroll Show or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, what you might not know is that Peretti is a “direct vessel of God.” In her Netflix special, Peretti takes her absurdity to the next level with legendary jokes that deal with ego and hot girls who use the hashtag #nomakeup on Instagram. —G.S.

12) Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero: The Honeymoon Stand Up Special

netflix comedy specials moshe kasher natasha leggero

The three-part special finds Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero musing on impending parenthood as well as the extended honeymoon phase of their marriage, their upbringings, and Leggero’s conversion to Judaism. After individual sets by Leggero and Kasher, they reconvene for the third act of the show, which involves them roasting couples as a (very informal) form of therapy. A.S.

Still not sure what to watch tonight? Here are our guides for the absolute best movies on Netflix, must-see Netflix original seriesdocumentariesdocuseries, and movies.

Need more ideas? Here are our Netflix guides for the best war moviesdocumentariesanimeindie flickstrue crimefood showsgangster moviesWesterns, and movies based on true stories streaming right now. There are also sad movies guaranteed to make you cry, weird movies to melt your brain, and standup specials when you really need to laugh. Or check out Flixable, a search engine for Netflix.

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*First Published: Mar 26, 2019, 7:00 am CDT